Welcome to the first article in the series Travel Shots. Travel Shots will look at different photography techniques from landscapes to wildlife photography, from food to street photography, or portraiture to night-time photography.
In this edition of Travel Shots we will be looking at Landscape Photography Tips and Techniques.
When you are travelling on vacation there always come a time when you will want to take a shot of the Landscape. Now when I say Landscape shot, I mean anything from capturing the sunrise over the ocean, to rolling fields, the mountains or city centre.
The tips and techniques apply equally well regardless of the subject.
6 Landscape Photography Tips and Techniques
1) Camera Set Up
The key to landscape photography is to have a large depth of field, which will allow you to have as much of the picture in focus as possible. To achieve this you need a small Aperture setting (large F number).
On DSLR’s and compact cameras these means setting the camera to Aperture Priority mode, or if you don’t have a manual mode setting it to the Landscape setting. Additionally you want to be using an ISO 100 setting to ensure the best image quality.
2) Use a Tripod
Due to the use of small Aperture settings, it is possible that you will end up with a shutter speed of below 1/125 sec, meaning you will need to use a tripod. At these low shutter speeds a tripod is essential.
Even if you are shooting at higher shutter speeds, it is beneficial to set up the tripod for practice anyway. Also consider using a shutter release cable or remote, or use a 3 sec delay when taking your shot.
3) Maximise sharpness
Ensuring that you have maximised the sharpness of the image is a combination of using the small Aperture setting mentioned above and correct focusing. If your camera allows you to manually focus, choose this setting.
To achieve maximum sharpness you want to focus on a point approximately one third the distance to the horizon. Either do this manually or choose an object around the one third distance focus on that and then reframe the shot.
Once you have taken the photo, you can zoom in to objects in the foreground and at the horizon to ensure they are in focus. If they are out of focus adjust the point you are focusing on accordingly (closer to you if the foreground is out of focus or further away if the horizon is out of focus).
4) Think Foregrounds
Often what can make or break a great landscape photo is having some focal point in the foreground. When you get this right, you draw the viewer into the photo and give them a sense of the depth to the photo.
The focal point in the foreground could be anything, a building, person, rock outcrop, stream. Also consider the positioning of the focal point, the Rule of Thirds will help here.
5) Capture sky detail
When photographing a landscape, you will either end up with the foreground or the sky dominating the picture. Unless either the foreground or the sky is interesting, you will end up with a pretty boring photo.
If you have a sky filled with interesting cloud formations or beautiful colours, position the horizon lower in the picture to capture more of the sky. If you have a boring or bland sky, position the horizon higher in the photo and capture more of the foreground.
Consider enhancing your sky either through the use of filters or by using software at the end of the day.
6) Work the Golden Hours
Dawn and dusk is when landscapes come alive and the light is the best. The sky may contain flashes of red or orange, and if there is some cloud cover you could end up with some very interesting shots.
Consider also the period just before sunrise or after sunset, this is when light is predominately blue and violet wavelengths. You may end up with some reds and oranges in the sky, but the land will be bathed in a soft blue light.
What techniques do you use when photographing landscapes? Do you have some different ones to the 6 I have outlined above? Sound of in the comments below….
Personally, you may cringe at this but for space, weight and safety reasons I only take pictures with my iphone6. The quality is much lower of course and my phone struggles to take a good quality landscape photo. It also really struggles in low light as well. Any suggestions?
Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. No there is nothing wrong with using the camera in your phone, it is the preferred camera for a lot of people because it is the one they have with them all of the time.
The tips in this post apply equally as well for an iPhone as they do for high end DSLR. If you would like some tips specifically for using your phones camera check out this post here – How to Take Quality Photos with your Phone.